This past Sunday I felt a wave of gratitude and love as I looked around and reflected on our church family.
Dennis had just told me that one of the ladies that directed the Vacation Bible School performance was hoping I’d send her a couple of the videos I took of it. I was planning to run to the car right after the service to get a bag of hand-me-downs to give to a friend and fellow parishioner. I’d received a message earlier that week from two moms seeking meals for another mom facing a challenging time. We’d just learned that a 6-year-old boy from our church had come home after a day in the hospital recovering from pneumonia. Prayers of thanksgiving were offered that our prayers for healing were answered. Plans are in the works for our annual church picnic the following weekend, where we’ll fellowship with one another, eat, watch the kids play, and probably engage in some silly games such as tug-of-war!
All around me were members of our church family. Our lives are intertwined. Each week we gather to worship, celebrate the sacraments, and live out our vocations in Christ’s Kingdom. We pray for, encourage, and support those who need strengthening. We celebrate the joys in life: births, baptisms, weddings, graduations, and the like. We mourn the loss of faithful friends who’ve died, and others who’ve moved away. We pray earnestly for the restoration of health in those who are sick and suffering.
We mark the changing seasons, both in nature and our church calendar. From Lent to Easter, Pentecost to Advent and Christmas, together as we play out our personal lives and the life of the church simultaneously. Week by week, month by month, and year by year the lives of each of us and, collectively, all of us unfold. I can imagine a day when we’ll celebrate the weddings of our young ones, have baby showers for the next generation of children, attend funeral services for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and through the years joyfully celebrate many, many answered prayers.
I feel so blessed to be raising our children in this community. It brings me comfort to have loving people in our church call the kids by name and give them big hugs on Sunday morning. I’m so grateful for the older kids who are great role models for Sienna and Mateo. It gives our children a substantial framework for life; rooting them in faith, history, and Christ’s Kingdom being manifest on Earth.
Dennis and I live hundreds of miles from our families. Becoming a part of our church family has given us a sense of belonging and identity that we cherish. Learning to serve and be served by a community of people who love one another has been transformative. Know that God is serving each of us through one another brings us so much joy.
**The image accompanying this post is the logo for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, of which our church is a member (hopefully I haven’t violated any copyright laws by including it!). I love the symbolism and particularly thought the “Life Together” part was pertinent to this post.